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Indeed phonics make English spelling harder as English spelling is more etymologically conservative than it is phonetic.

It was fascinating watching my kid learn to read: his school hired a native English speaker to teach English, using phonics. He preferred reading to almost any activity, but not in English (though we had plenty of books in that language) until I switched to reading with him only in English for a few months. The phonics led him down a false path.

Not in my personal case. My school didn't teach phonics, through 6 months of remedial tutoring with phonics I was able to go from being deemed a potential special ed student to being the most 'gifted' one. My full ride scholarship through academics stems from the course correction my parents made to the phonics path. I will be teaching my own children phonics with followups on the non-phonetically standard words.

Anecdote: My mother told me I was taught to read using phonics.

I don't remember learning to read except one very brief memory where I was trying to read Sam Who Never Forgets.

However in 4th grade I was reading at a 12th grade level, and I was reading 300pg novels in 2-3 days while classmates were reading short kids books.

Phonics aparently worked very well for me. Though I'm not always that good with spelling.

This was my experience also. My mom taught me phonics at home, while my peers learned whole language at school. And (quite possibly as a result) I was reading much longer books at a much earlier age than my peers.

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